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Bovine TB can infect all mammals including humans, farmed animals, pets and wild animals.

First published:
21 December 2018
Last updated:

Badgers and wild deer are the main wild animal species considered to be a TB risk to cattle herds.

The following animals may be infected on farms, as well as cattle:

  • camelids (alpacas, llamas, guanacos, vicunas)
  • goats
  • farmed deer
  • pigs
  • sheep.

Some of these species are less likely to cause the spread of disease than others.

Amongst pets, cats in particular have been confirmed as being infected with TB.

Cattle may pick up the infection through close contact with other infected animals.


Infection can be transmitted from:

  • cattle to cattle
  • badger to badger
  • cattle to badger
  • badger to cattle

The rate of TB spread between cattle and badgers and vice versa is not known. Nor are the details of the way the infection is transmitted between the two species.

Levels of TB in badgers in Wales may vary from  20% in areas of East Wales to < 1% in areas of North Wales. The strain (genotype) of TB found in badgers in an area is usually the same as that found in cattle in TB infected herds.

Direct contact between badgers and cattle at pasture is likely to be infrequent. But badgers will access low feed and water troughs in fields. Grazing cattle may come into close contact with badger setts and latrines. Badgers have also been found to visit farm buildings to take cattle feed and bedding.

Biosecurity measures should be taken to protect your livestock from the spread of TB from badgers.

Find out more about TB in domestic pets on